How to use email to alienate your most important customers

Email is a phenomenally powerful and effective business communication tool, when used with forethought, planning and care. Conversely, a single careless email can cause a PR nightmare for a brand and jeopardise valuable customer relationships.

On 21st April, HSBC Middle East bank sent a promotional email to 400 ‘Premier’ customers (whose qualification criterion is to maintain at least $95,000 in their accounts). Unfortunately, HSBC revealed all these customers’ names and email addresses to their peers by accidentally using the generic “To” function for this communication, rather than a personalised and confidential addressing technique. Understandably, a number of HSBC customers have publicly expressed their outrage and some have claimed that hackers have subsequently tried to access their email accounts.

This story is spreading fast across the local media and HSBC are clearly embarrassed and very much on the back foot. Whilst they have swiftly and profusely apologised, also emphasising that no customers’ bank account security has been compromised, it is too late to prevent any resulting damage to the bank’s reputation regarding standards of care and confidentiality.

Tim Mace of Tenzing a href=””>Marketing Consultancy believes that every brand – not only banks – needs to earn and maintain a brand image focused on trust to retain existing customers and to attract new ones. Trust is justifiably the most sought-after emotional attribute and there is no short-cut to gaining customer confidence.

Reputation-dependent companies like HSBC constantly measure a range of customer perception factors, which do not generally fluctuate much in the short-term, and HSBC will be hoping not to see a negative movement in their UAE stats for April or May and that this incident is swiftly forgotten by any of their customers and prospects who read this story or heard it from a friend.

However, disgruntled customers have long memories and Tenzing wonders what HSBC would (hypothetically) be prepared to pay to turn back the clock to the moment just before that fateful email was sent to 400 of its top customers!

Tenzing Marketing Consultancy – based in Dubai – is helping brands to reach new heights.

Mirdif City Centre – A mall too far?

Majid Al Futtaim’s new Mirdif City Centre mall – located on the outer limits of Dubai – has reported 1 million visitors during the 3 weeks after its opening on March 16th; an average of almost 50,000 per day.

Now, the hot issue for local commentators is whether these visitors represent genuine consumer demand or whether they are mostly sightseers and that Mirdif City Centre will become a deserted shell during the summer months.

It is rumoured that Emaar’s massive Dubai Mall has struggled to establish a solid purchasing footfall during its first year and that its amazing aquarium has actually been the big attraction, so is there room for yet another mega-mall in Dubai?

Tim Mace of Tenzing Marketing Consultancy thinks MAF has got it right.

“Ten years ago, it would have been unthinkable for a 400+ outlet super-mall to be located in the Mirdif wilderness. However, this locality has mushroomed in population and infrastructure and the Emirates Highway has rendered Mirdif City Centre easily accessible to a catchment stretching from Sharjah to the Green Community at Jebel Ali.

Mirdif City Centre offers a sky-diving attraction which, on the face of it, is less of a pull than exotic reef-life or indeed Mall of the Emirates’ spectacular indoor ski slope, so gimmicks will probably not be enough to win the hearts and minds of the fickle Dubai public.”

However, MAF has a history of planning and executing major mall developments at the right time and in the right locations and has clearly taken these factors into consideration. Their track record in Dubai is difficult to fault; Deira City Centre, now 15 years old, is still fully tenanted and gridlocked with customers at most times of every day and night, whilst Mall of the Emirates is firmly established as the must-shop venue for residents within a 10-15km radius – not to mention tourists and visitors from Abu Dhabi.

Alongside the obligatory Carrefour store, the retail mix of Mirdif City Centre comprises many new brands to the Gulf, which will probably either make or break its longer-term mass appeal. Brand Management of the Mirdif City Centre itself will also be important. Importantly though, the selection of retail brands and food outlets seems to be strong and with this comes the promise of more leading international brands following suit. Last but not least, the mall car park connects seamlessly with the surrounding road system.

We at Tenzing are confident that the future is bright for Mirdif City Centre.

Tenzing Marketing Consultancy – based in Dubai – is helping brands to reach new heights.

Naming the Burj – Khalifa or Dubai?

The haze and aroma of fireworks has now subsided following the grand launch of the amazing 800 metre tall Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai.

The world’s tallest building is settling nicely into its new name after being known as Burj Dubai during more than five years in construction.

But is it a good idea for a brand to change its name at the moment of launch?

Dubai marketing consultancy Tenzing would say this is normally not a wise move. However, in this case (whatever the underlying reason) we feel that the long-term benefit of renaming the tower after the President of the collective nation will outweigh the short-term discontinuity in message – as well as the cost of replacing all the signage…

Dubai’s achievements and extrovert personality have long overshadowed the identities of its neighbouring nations and fellow Emirates, most notably Abu Dhabi – its senior sibling and the federal capital of the UAE – to the net detriment of clearly communicating their shared values and identity.

Abu Dhabi has taken more of the international limelight in recent times, with happenings like the acquisition of Manchester City and its new Formula One circuit, but an independently more boisterous Abu Dhabi brand will not help to resolve the jigsaw puzzle of competing Gulf identities for most foreigners.

The time has surely now arrived for the UAE to market itself as a coherent and highly functional entity, with the scale and diversity of economic activity to take a step closer to achieving genuine global respect.

The naming of the iconic Burj Khalifa building represents a significant (and tall) step in the right direction.

Tenzing Marketing Consultancy – based in Dubai – is helping brands to reach new heights.

How do you grow Arabian dates?

In 2004, Nadiya Ltd was a young company, with a fast-growing corporate gifts and hospitality business focussed on markets in the Middle East.

Nadiya contracted a Dubai based marketing consultancy to develop a premium branding system and help take Nadiya into the FMCG retail sector.

They developed a brand story for their brand launch.  The Nadiya brand celebrates traditional Arabian culture and hospitality, with a contemporary twist.

Then they defined their brand experience for their brand launch – Nadiya hospitality is always the talk of the town.

Marketing Consultancy

Marketing Consultancy

Tenzing Marketing Consultancy then worked with them on Pack Design. The Nadiya logo conveys a stylish and relaxed mood and their elegantly designed packs promise tasty treats within.

Finally Tenzing worked with Nadiya to design and deploy a sustainable and cost effective adverstising campaign that still provides a strong return on investment. Nadiya advertising has always communicated the brand heritage and exclusivity.

Six years later, Nadiya is the leading retail brand in the Middle East, continues to thrive in servicing the Gulf’s five star hotels and corporate gifting sectors.

Tenzing Marketing Consultancy based in Dubai that work with small and medium sized companies to help their brands perform better.